The Face of the Constellation // The Fist of the Earth
by Carolyn Srygley-Moore

The face I cannot remember as I can remember the fist,
or the glue sticks of his eyes, facing the ceiling
as his face always faced-off the stars, real or imaginary…

As the surgeon bearing bad tidings
carries his head that way…

Human splendor lies in your laughter, in the way
the lust-cry rises like heat in winter, coiling tails;

or how the grasses bear the tarot reading of the moonlight
more effectively than the paid hands. &
the unicorn that the archer came home with, slung over his shoulder
like a stag, turned out to be a goat with a horn,
a dirty goat at that; no milk, either.

& I can smell the war as I can smell the darkness,
even when slathered with jam & butter, the war, the darkness.

The boat of the sun circling the skyscape.
You know, here, winter is always, even as the forsythia
blazes gold, even as the plum turns white & pink.

The scales of the sky are the human scab… peeling,
for between us lies, always, the butcher’s gash,
inflicted by the Other or self-inflicted…reeling with the stars,

the significance of loving // of being human,
the skeins that tie us, restrain us, make sure we are unbroken
when we return to the light, eternal or other, & play piano

in the toy dollhouse our children either
gladly inherit, or disinherit…

The faces I cannot recall, as I can recall the fist,
creases in the knuckles like crow’s feet, as elegant as that.
& in the smell of the light, too, is the smell of all givens.
is the smell of peacedom, like that, too.

Yes, & the cry rose to the ceiling, & he looked at her
as the deer looks, as she bounds, but not away; golden woodlands;
trail-blazing, fact of godlight…

not toward, but not away

* * *

“The Face of the Constellation // The Fist of the Earth” (c) 2009 by Carolyn Srygley-Moore
all rights reserved, used with the poet’s permission

Carolyn Srygley-Moore is a long-ago, award-winning graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. She has been a Pushcart nominee, widely published in journals including Eclectica, Mimesis, Antioch, Stirring, & the antiwar anthology Cost of Freedom. Her digital chapbook Enough Light on the Dogwood is available at She lives in Upstate New York with her husband & daughter.